Last night, the Commonwealth of Virginia put John Allen Muhammad to death for his part in the D.C. beltway sniper attacks. It would be simple enough to say good riddance to bad trash, but I couldn't help but think of the execution last night. I do have some questions in my mind about the death penalty. (the libertarian in me, no doubt) I have concerns that any group of people who can't run anything right (post office, V.A. and so on) have the power of life and death over convicted criminals. I have no doubts in my mind that some innocent people have been convicted and put to death for crimes they did not commit.
But I do also believe that the death penalty is justified and the right punishment for murder and other heinous crimes as long as there is no doubt whatsoever as to the guilt of the accused. There are some people who are so evil that they should not EVER be a part of humanity again. The problem with life imprisonment is that sometime it isn't for life. Here in N.C. we have about 20 people who are just about to get out of prison after receiving life sentences because they have received "good time" for behaving in prison.
I also think that the death penalty serves as a deterrent to criminals. I can guarantee you that John Allen Muhammad is about as deterred as he can get.
I just got back from attending a firearms instructor's conference at the North Carolina Justice Academy at Salemburg, I had a pretty good time, spent most of it attending armorer's classes. We worked on the Springfield Armory XD and it's 1911 clones and I am now a "certified armorer" whatever that means. Springfield puts out some fine weapons and if you are looking for a handgun, you could do a lot worse. However, they did do something that just "yanked my chain" Now most of you have no doubt figured out that I am old school to the max. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. So imagine my disgust when they handed me a 1911 and the first thing I saw was a safety lock inserted in the main spring housing. Yep, someone took the masterpiece of 'ol J.M. Browning and put a safety lock on it. You need a key to make it go "bang" Now you don't have to use the safety lock, but the very idea that someone felt the need to add one to one of the finest weapon`systems around just blows my mind. I guess it's a liability sop for the lawyers. (Damn 'em)
I also attended a seminar on Combat Mindset. It was a eye opening talk. The instructor challenged us to do a better job of preparing our trainees for combat, to train them to win, which we haven't been doing. Some of our terminology we use in training adds to this mindset such as the term, "To survive a gunfight" As the instruction said "Hell, you can be sitting in a wheelchair and eating your food through a straw and have survived, teach your people to WIN" We also talked about turning the "Me" generation into cops and the difficulties involved in doing that. The kids coming up into police work don't look at it as a avocation, but only a job. Most have NEVER even been in a school yard fight, so they do not have ANY concept of what it's like in the real world. So they don't react when they should and as a result get themselves or someone else killed. About 50 percent of the law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty never had the chance or took the opportunity to defend themselves. Unfortunately this trend may contiue or even get worse. I hope with all my heart not, but it doesn't look good.